The Handmaid’s Tale sequel is up for the major literary award even before it’s out.
Atwood, whose The Blind Assassin took the 2000 prize, isn’t the only past winner on the list nominated for a work yet to hit the shelves – Salman Rushdie’s Quichotte, which like Atwood’s latest isn’t due until early September, also makes the list.
Rushdie won in 1981 for Midnight’s Children and was awarded the “Booker of Bookers” in 1993 and 2008 on the 25th and 40th anniversaries of the prize. Quichotte is inspired by Don Quixote and follows a travelling salesman on a romantic quest across contemporary America.
Another book that has been longlisted without yet being published is The Man Who Saw Everything by English writer Deborah Levy who has made the shortlist twice before.
Writers from the United States, whose works have been included for consideration in the past five years after a rule change in the previously Commonwealth-only prize, barely figure in this year’s longlist. The prize was won by American writers for three years straight in 2015-17. UK-based Lucy Ellmann whose Ducks, Newburyport, the near single-sentence, thousand-page monologue of an Ohio homemaker, is the only US-born writer up for consideration.
The non-Brits on the longlist include Irishman Kevin Barry, Nigerians Chigozie Obioma (a previous nominee) and Oyinkan Braithwaite (the only debuting novelist in the longlist), Turkish writer Elif Shafak and Mexican author Valeria Luiselli.
The shortlist will be announced on September 3 and the winner on October 14.
The 2019 longlist
Margaret Atwood – The Testaments (Vintage, Chatto & Windus)
Kevin Barry – Night Boat To Tangier (Canongate Books)
Oyinkan Braithwaite – My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books)
Lucy Ellmann – Ducks, Newburyport (Galley Beggar Press)
Bernardine Evaristo – Girl, Woman, Other (Hamish Hamilton)
John Lanchester – The Wall (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy – The Man Who Saw Everything (Hamish Hamilton)
Valeria Luiselli – Lost Children Archive (4th Estate)
Chigozie Obioma – An Orchestra Of Minorities (Little Brown)
Max Porter – Lanny (Faber & Faber)
Salman Rushdie – Quichotte (Jonathan Cape)
Elif Shafak – 10 Minutes 38 Seconds In This Strange World (Viking)
Jeanette Winterson – Frankissstein (Jonathan Cape)